Beach considers tougher noise ordinance

Holmes Beach, Florida -- Loud music from a restaurant on Holmes Beach led to complaints from neighbors and uncovered a bigger problem. It's why Holmes Beach City Commissioners are taking a look at toughening the city's noise ordinance.

Barefoot Tiki Bar in business for 25 years drew in new customers when it added live music last year.

"It doubled -- it literally made a big difference," says owner Nicole Heslop.

But the music also drew in complaints to Holmes Beach Police from neighbors.

Cheryl Smargisso lives along Flotilla Drive on the east side Holmes Beach City Hall and the police department. The bar is located across the street of City Hall on the west side. She says the sound travels.

"It's more bass music -- it gets loud. In the spring and winter, we want to leave our windows open and it's a bit disruptive," says Cheryl.

Holmes Beach Police Chief William Tokajer says the current noise ordinance is difficult to enforce because it does have a set noise level.

"It has decibel levels on a chart and you measure depending on how loud and for how long at that duration," Tokajer says.

After months of testing, the police chief is proposing a new steady noise level at 65 decibels from 7 a.m. until 10 p.m. and no commercial lawn service on Sundays.

Nicole has been sticking to that proposed 65-decibel level for a few months.

"It's tough, really tough. We have spent thousands of dollars installing acoustic block material that buffers and absorbs the sound," she says.

"They've controlled it. It's much better," says Cheryl.

The proposed noise ordinance not only applies to businesses and homes, it applies to cars too. If, when standing still, the sound from the car can be heard 25 feet away, Holmes Beach police say it's too loud and be prepared to get a ticket.

The Barefoot Tiki Hut's owner says she doesn't need a noise meter to regulate the sound, "If I can't hear my customers order, it's too loud."

During Tuesday night's commission meeting, commissioners are considering doubling the fines from $75 to $150. Commissioners will also vote on allowing permits to use amplified music with outdoor dining.

Click here for the Holmes Beach City Commissioners agenda.

SEE ALSO:Holmes Beach city leaders pass alcohol ban

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